AS BUSY AS YOU WANT TO BE
Susan Fox & The Resort’s Activities Team
Dale Dauten, Syndicated Columnist
Aristotle wrote that “Happiness is a state of activity.”
He’d fit right in at The Resort
“You could say that I used to be a rocket scientist,” Susan Fox said and laughed. She added, “A unit I built went up on the Space Shuttle.”
I’d come to visit with her to ask about the path that brought her to her job as The Resort’s Activities Director and Susan was speaking of her previous work, doing assembly for a local aerospace company.
Susan has always had a knack for doing intricate, specialized work, and for doing it in and around the East Valley. Susan’s first job, while attending Chandler High, was as an engraver for a jewelry store. She was Susan Potenzo back then, the family having moved from Maine to Arizona after her father’s employer, Baker Refrigeration, relocated to Chandler.
After high school, she attended Mesa Community College. It was during those student days that she fell in love and got married. She has two children and three grandchildren, all of whom live in the East Valley. (She says of her daughter, “She lives a mile away. We talk every day, sometimes twice a day.”) But even while a student at MCC, Susan landed the first of a series of jobs doing assembly for electronics manufacturers. That’s where she worked on a unit for the Space Shuttle that took photos of the Aurora Borealis.
Then along came one of the downturns in the electronics industry and she found herself caught in layoffs. So she answered an ad for a receptionist at an assisted living facility.
The manager must have spotted her organizational talents because she told Susan, “You seem like you have a big heart,” just before asking, “How’s your typing?”
Why typing? The manager was already thinking of her for the Activities Director job and she needed someone who’d be able to type newsletters.
She took the job and thrived in the position there and at two other facilities. Then, in 2015, Rhonda Ciacco hired her at The Resort.
Susan has put together the Activities team: In addition to Mary Bixler (our Chef, who we profiled in the last issue of The Resorter), there’s Assistant Activities Director Helen Cockwell, who’s in charge of ticket sales and who oversees the work of the devoted group of volunteers, and Doug Gann, who coordinates the set-up for events and does a bit of everything, including signage and selling tickets.
Susan, with Helen, Doug and Mary
THE WORST ACTIVITY
The team and volunteers are clearly good at what they do. I knew that when I asked Susan to tell me the story of their biggest disaster. Susan was perplexed. “There must have been a time when everything went wrong,” I said, urging her on. She thought a while and finally said, “There was the one time with one of the Coffee & Donuts events. Those happen twice a month and are very well attended.” So what went awry? “There was a mix-up, a miscommunication, and the donuts never showed up.” We can only conclude that if that’s the worst that’s happened in her two years, the team is buttoned-up.
THE BEST ACTIVITY
I also wanted to know about the other extreme, the best of The Resort’s activities. This time Susan didn’t hesitate: “That’s easy – it’s the Southwest Surfers. Everybody loves them.”
I hope you already have tickets for their next visit, February 17th, because it sold out long ago.
Speaking of being booked up, another way to judge the success of the Activities team is attendance at events and Susan was pleased to report that attendance is up substantially this season. Why? She smiled at that question and explained:
“Our team met at the start of the year and we came up with a list of ideas of how to get more people engaged. We had ideas for using ticket sales for club fundraisers, and for how we could come up with ads for upcoming events – all sorts of ideas. Then there was this one tiny little suggestion: put out a weekly reminder sheet. So every week Helen types up a list, and just like that, we saw the difference in attendance Just because of that one little list.”
Susan also tells me that she’s already booked many of the events/acts for 2018, saying, “The best groups get booked-up first.” She even let me in on some new news: The Southwest Surfers will be the musical act for the next New Year’s Eve party. “That will be huge,” she added.
So enjoy this season, knowing that Susan and her team are at work making sure the next one will be as good or even better.
THE FLIRTY HORSE
We have a set of photos from Rhonda, taken at the event with the singing cowboy. Alice Plale ended up being part of the show and she sent us her reflections on the experience.
I had a fun experience today. For Western Days they brought in a singing cowboy with a real (I thought it would be fake) horse. Because it was raining, it was held inside at ‘Club 55’, our other meeting place. He sang the western songs most of us knew and some he had written, he also told funny stories. It was a entertaining afternoon. I was seated at a table right next to the performance area.
The horse, called Dusty, decided it liked me, while the cowboy was singing Dusty walked over to me and stood about 3 feet away. Soon he walked closer till he was about a foot away. I reached out and touched his nose, he shook his head away from me. The man pulled him away and kept on with his act, soon Dusty walked back to me and was almost in my face. I reached out and touched his nose, he came closer, I bent back with pretend fear and people laughed. Again the cowboy pulled back and again the horse came up to me. This time Dusty was so close I thought he was going to lick me. The man next to me tried to push him away and the horse’s reaction was to try to bite him. I just kept on pushing back, away from him, but I was laughing hard at the time.
The cowboy told a story about how Dusty followed a lady at one of their gigs. He yelled at the lady and said he had to talk to her, so she went to him, and the horse followed her again; then he told her “thanks for bringing my horse back.” He said this happens often that the horse “flirts.” I guess I was the one the horse chose this time. It was fun, it made the people laugh and I got many good comments after.
Hmm, should I be flattered or insulted that a horse chose me?
FEBRUARY IS A “BUSY AS YOU WANT TO BE” MONTH
Susan Fox and the folks at the Activities Office have been busy. Here are four ways to know what’s going on…
Click here to download the a PDF of this month’s Calendar
Click here to download Susan’s “back of the calendar” updates
Click here for Susan’s comments and club updates
Click here to view the Calendar on our Website
DIRECT TV: OUR NEW, EXCLUSIVE PROVIDER
Empire Communications has been chosen as our exclusive provider of Direct TV. Instead of simply getting installers sent out from an out-of-town office, we get personal attention from Empire, nearby in Mesa.
The folks from Empire will be joining us for upcoming coffees, and will provide complete details.
4830 East Main St #5
Mesa, AZ 85205
The Singing Cowboy
Around The Resort
Country Days Dance, with Copper Canyon Band